Speaking like a state: Environmental justice and fish consumption advisories

Caron Chess, Joanna Burger, Melanie Hughes McDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Government agencies fail to communicate effectively to key audiences about the hazards of eating self-caught, contaminated fish. As a result, government is not protecting African Americans, Latinos, and other ethnic groups that are disproportionately exposed to chemicals that contaminate the catch of recreational anglers. This review argues that remedying this environmental injustice requires agencies to change "government-speak" (bland, generic communication) to communication that is culturally relevant to minority audiences. We summarize research indicating that these audiences understand the meaning and significance of properly targeted risk communication. Finally, we explore the organizational problems within government that may hinder effective communication, perpetuating this environmental injustice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-278
Number of pages12
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Advisory
  • Environmental justice
  • Fish
  • Government
  • Risk communication


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